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Have you ever thought of visiting American Samoa? Have you heard of American Samoa before? Most people haven’t! It is actually a U.S. Territory made up of 5 small islands in the South Pacific. It is located about halfway between Hawaii and New Zealand. It is an amazing place for families to visit. First, the unspoiled natural beauty of these islands provides some of the most breathtaking views in the world. Second, because of its small size, remoteness, and lack of a real tourism industry, it boasts some of the most secluded beaches and hiking trails you will ever come across. Third, the people of American Samoa are generous, warm, and friendly. Lastly, it is one of the safest places in the world. While it is expensive to get to American Samoa, you are sure to have the trip of a lifetime once you arrive. To help you plan your trip, here are 10 things to do with kids in American Samoa.
1. Visit the National Park Service Visitor’s Center
There is a United States National Park in American Samoa, which encompasses a large portion of the rainforest and several marine sanctuaries around the island. The National Park Visitor’s Center, located in Pago Pago is a great place to start your island vacation. While you pick up some maps and talk to the park rangers, your kids can take in all of the 3D models of the island and its wildlife. If you have a National Parks passport, you can get it stamped at the Visitor’s Center too. For more information, visit their website.
2. Drive the island from end to end.
Tutuila, the main island in American Samoa, is about 3 miles wide and 25 miles long. There is one main road that runs the length of the island. To get a good overview of the island, take a drive from one end to the other. The drive will reward you with great views and show you just how diverse this place is. You can drive the entire island in a couple hours.
3. Take in the views at Turtle & Shark.
One of my favorite things to do with kids in American Samoa is to visit Turtle & Shark. It is one of the most picturesque places in the world! This rocky shoreline is a peaceful lookout where you can feel one with the world. The only word to describe Turtle & Shark is breathtaking. While you stand in awe of the power of the ocean, your kids will love jumping in the puddles caused by the waves crashing on the rocks. You can find it in the village of Vaitogi on the west side of Tutuila. Read more about Turtle & Shark and the legend behind it in my post here.
4. Hike Blunt’s Point.
Blunt’s Point is a wonderful hike to do with kids. It’s not too steep or difficult. The well-marked trail is located in the rainforest, so you will be in the shade almost the entire time. About a quarter mile into the hike, you will reach the first of two WWII naval guns which are mounted in the ground. The site of this first gun will give you gorgeous bird’s eye views of the harbor and Fatumafuti. If your kids are anything like my son, they will love playing with the gun. Further up the trail, you will reach the second gun, but the views aren’t as great. The entire trail is about 3 miles long and will take you approximately 2 hours to complete. Check out my post on Blunt’s Point for more in-depth information.
5. Listen to the Talking Rocks of Vatia.
Another one of my favorite things to do with kids in American Samoa is to visit the talking rocks. Drive up and over the mountain to the village of Vatia on the north side of the island. At the far end of the village, follow the road into the rainforest until you come to a clearing with some National Park signs. Park and walk the last tenth of a mile down the trail to the rocky shoreline. This is a feast for the eyes, but its real magic lies in its sounds. After a few minutes of listening to the waves crash on the rocks, you will begin to hear the rocks chattering among themselves. It is actually a clattering sound the rocks make as they fall back down when the waves recede, but it sounds like they are talking. It is fascinating to adults and kids alike.
6. Play in the water at Utulei Beach.
Because Utulei Beach is in the protected harbor, it is a fun place for families to play in the water without having to fight the waves. There is plenty of space to spread out here. This is a perfect area to swim. You may even see a sea turtle! For extra fun, visit South Pacific Watersports, located right on the beach, to rent kayaks, paddle boards, or snorkel gear. They also have lifejackets if you need them.
7. Learn about the Samoan culture on Aunu’u.
One of the best things to do with kids in American Samoa is to take a tour of Aunu’u. Just off the eastern end of Tutuila is the tiny island of Aunu’u. You can get there by ferry, which leaves from the boat dock at Amouli. To experience the best of what Aunu’u has to offer, book a tour with Peter Taliv’a. Not only will Peter give you a guided tour of the island, but he will teach you about Samoan culture, show you the taro plantations, and make you a traditional feast. You can find Peter on Facebook.
8. Splash around at Fatumafuti.
Fatumafuti is one of the best beaches on Tutuila for families. Located on the main road, it is easy to find and easy to reach. The water here is usually pretty calm, so it is a good spot for little ones to splash around. Older kids will enjoy playing on the rocks. This is a great spot for snorkeling too.
9. Enjoy a picnic at Larson’s Cove.
One of the hidden gems of American Samoa is Larson’s Cove. This beautiful beach is not easy to find, but once you do, you will probably have the place all to yourselves. Travel past Turtle & Shark down a small and rough road. Eventually, you will have to park and hike another 30 minutes or so, going down a moderate incline and through a banana and taro plantation. After the plantation, you will find the stairs leading down to the cove. Larson’s Cove has some of the best sand on the island. It is soft and white, perfect for lounging and enjoying a picnic. The water here is calm and pretty shallow, which is great if you have small children. You can’t find a more secluded and beautiful spot in the world!
10. Have a beach day at $2 Beach.
If you prefer your beach to have less hiking and more indoor plumbing, then look no further than $2 Beach on the east side of Tutuila. Unlike the other activities on this list, you will have to pay an admission price of $5 per person to use $2 Beach. However, that price gets you indoor bathrooms (with shower) and a bar/snack bar. There are also a couple small fales and picnic tables for use on a first come, first serve basis (unless you want to pay to reserve one). You will find plenty of sand for building castles or playing volleyball and a good area for swimming too.
American Samoa is not an easy place for tourists to visit due to its remoteness and lack of a tourism industry. But, it more than makes up for it in unspoiled natural beauty without large crowds. The ten activities on this list are some of the best that the island has to offer for families. You can experience most of these things without other people to interfere with your family time. If you are looking for a vacation in a tropical paradise that is kid-friendly, American Samoa should be at the top of your list! I hope this list of 10 things to do with kids in American Samoa helps you plan your next family adventure! For more, see our things to see and tips for visiting American Samoa. Happy travels!